Lessing and Christianity

It is often said that "Lessing became a philosopher in debating with Christianity."1 As this statement implies, Lessing's relationship with Christianity has a long and deep-rooted history. His engagement with theology did not suddenly blossom with his publication of Fragments from an Unnamed Author (Fragmenten des Ungenannten) or the ensuing "fragments controversy" (Fragmentenstreit). It goes back, rather, to the Leipzig period (1746—48) when he was a seminary student, or even further back to his boyhood in the parsonage at Kamenz. This chapter, accordingly, surveys Lessing's general relationship with Christianity and Christian theology. The aim of this survey is to lay the groundwork for more detailed studies in the chapters that follow.

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